/ 13 September 2021

9/11 anniversary exposes old wounds

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty

THE SQUIZ
Just after America marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, a longstanding question many victims’ families have about whether or not Saudi Arabia supported the hijackers in their quest to attack the US was partly addressed. A newly declassified FBI document was released by the Biden administration yesterday that does not prove that senior Saudi officials were involved, but some analysts say it hints at it. 

WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
Fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers were Saudi citizens, and founder Osama bin Laden was from a prominent Saudi family, so there have long been claims the Saudi government was linked to the 9/11 attacks. The families of 2,500 of the dead are suing for billions of dollars, claiming “the active, knowing support of the Saudi government”. In the lead up to Saturday’s memorial services, President Joe Biden was under pressure from those families to release information from the official investigations. He agreed, and the FBI document – which details the contact 2 of hijackers had with US-based ‘Saudi associates’ – is the first cab off the rank. Note: an official commission found no evidence that Saudi Arabia directly funded al-Qaeda but left open the possibility that individual Saudi officials might have. For its part, Saudi Arabia has long denied any involvement in the attacks.

SO HOW DID THE ANNIVERSARY GO?
President Biden was present at the 3 memorial services in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He cut a quiet figure who mostly stayed in the background of the services. He noted that days like Saturday were “incredibly difficult” for victims’ loved ones because “it brings back the instant they got the news, no matter how years go by.” Some pics are here. And in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s flag was raised at the Presidential Palace. Reports say the white banner featuring a Quranic verse was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, PM of the interim government, and it signals the beginning of the Taliban’s administration. Its first policy: segregating the sexes in education.

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